Monday, 6 October 2008

Laura Norder wins elections

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. To my great surprise, John Boy Key appears to be sending that very sensible message to violent criminals, and to shop-owners and others who've been the target of those criminals he's sending the message (well, sort of) that it's okay to defend themselves.

Bravo for that much.

John Boy has finally come out with a policy that's both worth a damn, and is different to the other team's. Yes, it's election year, but two cheers for that anyway. It's been twelve years since Libertarianz first introduced its policy that "Life sentences for real crimes will mean life" -- unlike other parties I could mention it's not changed every few years depending on which way the wind is blowing -- so it's worth a cheer or two when the mainstream parties finally catch up.

National's policy of ensuring, or trying to, that thugs won't get the chance to destroy people's lives *more than twice* is half-good, and will keep the rest of us half-safe. Two very loud cheers for that.

Contrary to the claims of both Helen Clark MP and Peter Williams QC in objecting to his policy, "corrections" isn't about "redemption" or rehabilitation for criminals -- and contrary to John Key's claim it's not primarily about "deterrence" either -- it's primarily about restitution for victims, and then protection for us.

The only reason not to take violent criminals off the street -- the only reason -- is that not doing so would safely allow a criminal to make recompense for their crime to the victim.

Government's primary job -- the only one for which it has any moral justification -- is to protect those who value their life, liberty, property and happiness from those who've shown beyond reasonable doubt that they're quite partial to taking them all away. ("The rights of the accused are not a primary," argues Ayn Rand, "they are a consequence derived from a man’s inalienable, individual rights. A consequence cannot survive the destruction of its cause.") That's the only reason to lock people up: not to not to rehabilitate criminals, and nor even to punish them, but to protect us from their savagery.

If John Key understands that much, then he perhaps understands more than I'd ever given him credit for.

That said, Key still resolutely ignores a fairly significant elephant in the room, and his policy has a fairly substantial fish-hook -- its price-tag: at least $314 million plus $43 million annually for a new prison to lock up the estimated 572 or so thugs that will be locked up under this policy who aren't locked up now.

That's why he gets just two cheers. Ignoring the obvious, and a new prison that's both expensive and unnecessary. Repairing to the reason we have laws against violent crime will tell you why it's unnecessary:

All actions defined as criminal in a free society are actions involving force—and only such actions are answered by force.

Do not be misled by sloppy expressions such as “A murderer commits a crime against society.” It is not society that a murderer murders, but an individual man. It is not a social right that he breaks, but an individual right. He is not punished for hurting a collective—he has not hurt a whole collective—he has hurt one man. If a criminal robs ten men—it is still not “society” that he has robbed, but ten individuals. There are no “crimes against society”—all crimes are committed against specific men, against individuals. And it is precisely the duty of a proper social system and of a proper government to protect an individual against criminal attack—against force.

Which means "crimes" without a victim are not in fact a crime -- "crimes," that is, such as smoking a joint, cutting down a tree on your own land, or putting a chocolate bar in your kid's lunchbox. Locking people up who've committed no crime against anyone else is not only immoral, its not only expensive, but it's urgently necessary to solve the problems Key seems at least to want to.

The main point here is of course the failed War on Drugs, whose results we can see on the streets of South Auckland and the gangs of Wanganui, in the increased profits of those gangs and the increased abundance of more and more dangerous drugs -- in the increased time taken away from real crimes by concentrating on bogus victimless crimes; in the rise and rise of 'P' -- the ideal prohibition drug -- and in the explosion of prison numbers in recent years.

It's now so serious that even a mainstream political parties really has to focus attention on what the War on Drugs has done, and how ending it will solve so many problems:

  • End the War on Drugs to fix the gang problem, by taking away their source of profits.
  • End the War on Drugs to fix the 'p' problem by taking away the need for such a *virulent* drug -- the ideal prohibition drug.
  • End the War on Drugs to fix the prison overcrowding problem, by not locking up people who have committed no crime against anyone.
  • End the War on Drugs to solve the policing problem, by taking police resources from so called 'crimes' with no victims so that real crimes with genuine victims like rape, robbery, murder, theft and fraud can be vigorously pursued and the rights of these real victims enforced and upheld.
UPDATE 1: More on the damage that dullards do:
BZP ban boosted the illegal drug market, survey shows - A survey of Otago University students has found the ban on party pill ingredient BZP has only boosted the illegal drug market. [Hat tip Whale Oil]
UPDATE 2: Lindsay Mitchell reckons the Nats "two strikes" policy has gazumped her own party's "three strikes" headline policy. "Clever move by National," she says. "Makes ACT irrelevant on the very ground they chose to fight the election on."
Where ACT should have gone [she says] is to the root of most crime and the best way to prevent it: Serious and radical welfare reform. National would never follow them there.
Thanks goodness one party at least has pointed out that road, huh?

But as Susan says at Lindsay's, why stop at two strikes?
I don't know why you'd subject another one (or two, in the case of ACT) innocent people to a serious [violent] offence before locking the offender away for a long time?
Why not get serious with the first conviction for violent crime?
As long as the justice system is fixed first and it's restricted to violent crimes only, why not?


  1. I'd make sure there was a rope in every cell, along with a sturdy hook on the ceiling.

  2. I cannot see why prisons cannot be made more like WWII POW camps. Huts, bunks, a stove and lots of barbed wire and towers. Fuck, we have an army that sits on their arse half the time and several million acres of good prison land up in the central plateaux. A line of death and electrified wire should prevent escape.


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